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Tag: Perspective

Stepping on shoulders

Go Ahead and Step on Me

Stepping on shoulders

Mental health emergency room visits and suicide rates are up in young adults during the pandemic, according to the CDC. It grieves my heart to know people feel hopeless, alone, and distanced. They can’t see a future or their purpose when they’re stuck in a holding pattern that feels never-ending. For those of us who’ve been around for a bit, we’ve survived ups and downs before. It’s easier for us to have confidence that the sun will rise and the storm will eventually blow over.

People aren’t born with resilience. It’s learned usually through pressure hardships and adversity.

Only those 30 years old and older will have experienced the ’08-‘09 recession Only those 45 and older will remember the Black Monday stock market crash of ‘87. Only those in their nineties would have been impacted by the Great Depression. High school and college-age kids don’t have the perspective to know they won’t always be stuck in the valley and that the fog will lift.

More than ever, we need to pour into those around us: our neighbors, friends, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. We need to teach them resilient faith. Let them know that this too will pass. They may argue that the circumstances are different. We’ve never been through a pandemic. That is why faith is the “confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we have not seen (Hebrews 11:1).” Let them lean on our faith because we know God will take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good.

Nehemiah was grieved after hearing about the circumstances in Jerusalem, and he begged the king of Persia to allow him to return to help his people. As they labored to build a wall and faced opposition from the neighboring counties, Nehemiah called his people together and told them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” Nehemiah 4:14.

girl throwing punch

It is crucial for us to reach out. We must fight for the next generation, their marriages, their minds, and especially for their spirit. We need to offer them hope and loan them our faith. Let them use it as a stepping stone to lift them above the clouds. By stepping on our shoulders, we can help them rise above the fog.

It’s not in our strength alone. Resilience means believing in something bigger than you.

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Man cringing

Fear – Keeping Your Wits When Your Brain’s not Being Rational

Comic drawing of a man cringing in fear

I have an irrational fear of spiders. Before my brain can rationalize that I’m ten times bigger than the hideous, eight-legged, creepy-crawly, I’m screaming as if I’d seen the boogieman. I can’t run because if I take my eyes off the spider, it could disappear. So I track its jiggly movements, yelling for my husband to get over here and kill it.

Tarantula

Someone thought a great gift would be a remote-control tarantula for my boys. My oldest child camouflaged the spider on my black office chair. I pulled out my seat, and the motion swayed the tarantula’s legs in the eerie pattern spiders move. I belted out a scream that could shatter window panes, and in my haste to run, I tripped over my husband’s office chair. I swear there were claw marks in the carpet as I scrambled to evade the hideous monster about to jump on me and suck my blood. The boys got a good laugh.

Fear wipes out common sense.

It sends us into a panic where we’ll do unreasonable things. It also tricks us into trying to create a safe environment, shutting out people, potential, and opportunities. Our world becomes smaller, and we soon become an inmate in a prison of our making.

Fear consumes a person, keeping us from seeing the truth.

“Fear not” or “do not be afraid” is mentioned in the Bible roughly 365 times. That’s one for every day of the year. Why would God need to tell us not to be afraid so many times? I believe it’s because when we let fear rule us, we lose our ability to reason. It takes a lot more rational to get through to us, but God will go to great lengths, even repeating it 365 times if that’s what it takes.

Fear shouldn’t rule us.

2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind.” Fear isn’t a part of us. We’re not stuck with it. We have the ability to live free from its chains.

Hand fear an eviction notice.  

1 John 4:4 says, “the One Who lives in you is stronger than the one who is in the world.” God is greater than any evil in this world. We must renounce fear and hand it over to God. This sounds easy, except for the control element. We’ll often hold onto our distress because we don’t want to relinquish control. We start the litany of what-ifs. What if we hit a recession? What if my son or daughter needs me? What if I make a fool of myself? What if the spider pounces…? We choose to hold tight what little control we have over the situation, instead of giving our fear to God.

Put fear into perspective

Psalm 116:8 “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Are we worried about what people will think or about how people will react? Is people-pleasing more important to us than God’s approval? If we are doing God’s will, then our fears don’t stand a chance, but we must remain calm so we can see clearly. Most of the time, the things we worry about don’t even come to fruition.

Please note: I write all this as a work in progress. Here’s an update on my spider progress – My husband will attest to me being able to see a spider and hold in my scream. I’ve even killed a few on my own.

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Hawk

Perspective – Is Your View that of a Field Mouse or a Hawk?

Hawks can see up to eight times better than humans.This is roughly 20/5 to 20/2 compared to our normal 20/20 vision, and that’s if you don’t already need glasses. Hawk One swooped down from its grand birds-eye view from the top of one of our oak trees and captured something in our yard over the weekend. My son and I watched it spread its wings and strut about with its feathers puffed as if pleased by its catch, then fly off back to its high perch to eat in peace.

We have no idea what it had caught, much to my son’s disappointment and my squeamish stomach’s delight. We don’t have the 1 million per mm photoreceptors that the hawk does. Nor can we distinguish between wide arrays of colors the way a hawk can. We also lack the indented fovea which acts like a zoom lens and allows the hawk to hone in on its subject.

Compared to the hawk, our eyesight is sorely lacking, we’re like blind moles Rabbitfumbling our way around in the dark. Life can seem like that to us. Our problems seem overwhelming, insurmountable. We feel like the poor field mouse or the tiny rabbit vulnerable to an attack at any moment.

I can imagine Joshua and his small army felt exposed and defenseless as they silently circled the wall of Jericho. Yet, Joshua’s small army crumbled those walls with only the blaring of their trumpets and the shouts of their voices (Joshua 6:1-21). Within the Bible, we even more examples of the weak underdog doing the impossible. Gideon, who claimed to be the least in his father’s house, sent home ten thousand soldiers at God’s command and battled the fierce and vast Midianite army with a mere three hundred men (Judges chapters 6 & 7). Elisha’s servant woke up and went outside to stretch one morning and found the city surrounded by the Aramean army. Instead of panicking, Elisha (and I believe he smiled as he did this) asked God to open his servant’s eyes, and God revealed a heavenly army filling the hills with chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:8-22).

With God all things are possible. So why do we act like frightened field mice when we have access to hawk vision. We need to take a step back and get a better perspective. I don’t mean climb up an oak tree or scale building to the rooftop. I mean to get a God perspective. Joshua, Gideon, and Elisha overlooked their smallness to focus on God’s greatness. They realized what Paul later explained in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

As Christ-followers, we have a direct line to God’s omnipotent power. Prayer connects us to the one who created the heavens and breathed the earth into existence. But, we need to stop holding a field mouse mentality, and in faith, turn to the One who is so big, the earth is His footstool. We need to realize that God is bigger than our circumstances. For He is the God of miracles.

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

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